Guest speakers benefit students, sharing expert experience in their career fields
by Amanda Mauer
Cornerstone University professors are tapping into the expertise of experienced individuals outside the classroom.
Ann Byle, a journalism adjunct has tapped into these resources more than once. She will be having a total of eight professionals come into her class this semester including Tracy Groot, author of “Madman.”
Byle said using these guest speakers offers her students some knowledge she doesn’t have, and they get to listen to someone other than her for all three hours. She also said they “always make classes laugh,” and show up on time.
Byle has also been a guest speaker and said it’s always fun to talk about writing. She said you never quite know where you are fitting into the class and some kids don’t give a “flip” to what you are talking about.
Provost Rick Ostrander said, “We give our professors a certain amount of latitude to structure and teach the courses the way they think best, so if that means bringing in guest lecturers then that is really up to them. We don’t get involved in that process very much.”
He also said, “I think in general, it’s definitely an educational benefit to have guest lecturers.”
He continued to say that if they were overused in the class then he could see that being an issue but he has not heard of any concerns in that matter.
“They bring a new experience to the subject that the professor him or herself doesn’t bring,” Ostrander said.
As provost, he provides the “academic vision for the institution, and create the optimum conditions for education to happen.”
He did not just get the position though he was once a professor himself at John Brown University where he taught history.
As a history professor ten years ago, Ostrander brought a guest speaker into his American history classroom to speak on the Manhattan Project. This was a top secret project used for the development of the atom bomb.
One of the trustees was an engineer on the project and was asked to come in and speak to the class.
Ostrander said, “It was definitely a very stimulating experience in the classroom.”
The students were able to ask him questions mostly out of curiosity but also on the ethics of the matter, regarding how he, as a Christian man, was able to work on something that would kill thousands of people.
Joyanne Baab, a senior humanities major said, “I think it’s a great opportunity.”
She said she liked the value speakers present to classes, having a different point of view than their professors.
Baab also encouraged students to take advantage of lectures outside the classroom; she said she found most of them to be incredibly constructive.
Daniel Moore, an early enroll student, said he had a guest speaker in his world civilizations class who was a former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and found it very interesting, he can still remember specific details from his speech.
He also appreciates the guest speakers who come to chapel and said, “Chapel guest speakers I believe are very beneficial so if class speakers are like that, then I would say that ‘yes’ they are benefits.”